National Safety Month: Mental Health

Amerisafe Group is providing various topics chosen by The National Safety Council to focus on throughout the month. This post is on Mental Health Awareness in the workplace, including identifying severe stress symptoms, tips for coping with stress, and managing workplace fatigue.

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Guidelines for Coping with Stress

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has left the entire global population in a stressful period of uncertainty. Coping with stress may be challenging as we adjust to new opening procedures. Below you will find useful ways to cope with stress and mental health for yourself and those you keep safe.

Symptoms of Severe Stress:

It is important to recognize the symptoms that encompass what causes "stress." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of Severe Stress include:

  • Changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping and/or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health or mental health problems
  • Increase use of alcohol/tobacco/other drugs

Response

People who may respond more strongly to stress might include older people and people with Chronic health conditions, children and teens, frontline medical services such as doctors, nurses, and first responders.

Occupational Health and Safety Services

Coping Tips:

Here are a few tips to help you manage how you handle stress you may be experiencing:

  • Be sure to take breaks from news stories and social media posting relating to COVID-19.
  • Take proper care of your body which includes taking deep breaths, stretch, and practice meditation.
  • Eat healthy and prepare well-balanced meals to ensure you are supplying the body with the fuel it needs to operate.
  • Incorporate regular exercise and plenty of sleep.
  • Avoid drug and alcohol use.
  • Make time for relaxation and self-care regiments.
  • Don’t forget to stay connected with other people!
Coping Tips

Recommendations for Managing Workplace Fatigue

Long work hours combined with stress and a physically demanding job can lead to poor sleep and fatigue of a worker. Fatigue can lead to an increase in workplace related injuries, and a decline in a worker's general health leaving them more prone to infections, illness, and mental illnesses.

Steps Employers Should Take to Reduce Workplace Fatigue for Workers:

  1. Recognize these are stressful and unusual circumstances and risk for fatigue may be increased
  2. Create a safety culture with clear communication between management and workers
  3. Recognize the signs of workplace fatigue:
    • Yawning
  4. Difficulty keeping eyes open
  5. Inability to concentrate
  6. Create a procedure that does not punish employees for being too fatigued to work safely
    • Consider assigning employees just starting their shift to safety-critical tasks
  7. Rotate workers through tasks that are repetitive or strenuous (while cleaning any tools or shared surfaces between workers)
  8. If possible, schedule physically and mentally demanding work during day shift or for shorter shifts
  9. Schedule at least 11 hours off in-between shifts (each 24-hour period), and one full day of rest per seven days for adequate sleep and recovery.
Manage Workplace Fatigue
Occupational Health Services Coping with Stress

For the latest COVID-19 daily updates visit our COVID-19 Safety Blog.

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